After the resounding success of the first Who Are You? event put on in collaboration between Wax Music and So Young Magazine, no time was wasted in announcing the second installment, this time featuring London’s favourite likely lads The Rhythm Method and the dynamic future-pop of Lynks Afrikka.
While the bill may have seemed like a departure from the post-punk vibes that dominated the first night, it certainly seemed like the idea behind the evening was to ramp up the fun factor to an unfathomable level. It could have been argued that the disparate choice of acts could have made for a jarring experience, yet there was always an underlying sense that everything would fall into place – with both acts showcasing their own unique take on pop music. Regardless of how you wanted to view the evening, the excitement was palpable for what they would both would be bringing to the table.
Taking to the stage first in trademark frightful attire was Lynks Afrikka; a delight for those who had turned up early specifically to see the act and a source of utter mystification for those unwitting others who had arrived in time. The performance that Elliot Brett puts on under the guise of Lynks could be described as a surreal mix of cutting satire, drag and futurist dance bangers, which at first may seem like all a bit much to absorb at once. But once you’re a few songs into the set, you know you’ve been sucked into a one of a kind performance art experience.
Accompanied by ‘Lynks Shower Gel’ – a backing vocalist with elastic dance moves and heavily smudged face paint – the duo breezed through a set of crowd-pleasers and new material, including songs such as ‘Str8 Acting’, ‘B.L.L.T’ and ‘Arts and London’. Whether getting the crowd to sing about “hot straight boys”, declaring a love for lettuce or pretentious underground scenes, it’d be safe to say that the set was an absolute riot.
If Lynks Afrikka was to be taken as a vision of where pop music will be some years from now, then The Rhythm Method perhaps presented the opposite in their amalgamation of inspiration from influential years. To further highlight the contrast between the acts, ripped neoprene bodysuits and full-blown flamboyance were traded in for football strips and Red Stripe-fuelled chanting, and while both acts heavily relied on synthesised sounds, the harshness of Lynks Afrikka’s set was swapped in for The Rhythm Method’s more glitzy and soulful approach.
Much of the appeal of the London duo stems from Joey Bradbury’s deadpan delivery of spoken-word lyrics, touching on the misery of modernity in such an honest way. That in turn is complemented by the instrumentals of Rowan Martin that are at times nostalgically reminiscent of acts like Pet Shop Boys. There was an overwhelming response to a number of tracks from their debut record, ‘How Would You Know I Was Lonely?’, including the title track and ‘Local, Girl’, while crowd-pleasers such as ‘Party Politics’ and World Cup anthem ‘Chin Up’ even prompted some members of the audience to approach the band for a hug during the encore.
Whichever way you want to look at it, the second edition of Who Are You? was another success, and despite the stark contrast between the acts on display, both managed to attract their own pockets of hardcore fans and probably managed to acquire a few more along the way. While Joey jokingly remarked during The Rhythm Method’s set that “we’ve all missed Would I Lie To You? for this”, it was pretty clear that everyone else in attendance wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.
Words by Reuben Cross // Photos by Amia Watling (@amiaocean)